the han dynasty
The Han dynasty arose during a period of unrest. The Chinese people were unhappy with the harsh, Legalist rule of the Qin. After the first emperor’s death, they rebelled against the Qin. Liu Bang (LEEoo bahng), a rebel who had gained control of the Han kingdom, conquered the Qin army and established the Han dynasty.
The Han dynasty was also known for its military achievements. Han emperors expanded the empire to include parts of present-day Korea and Vietnam. Once Central Asia was under its control, the Han established trade relationships with the West.
In this chapter, you will explore warfare, government, agriculture, industry, art, medicine, and science under the Han dynasty. You will see how the Han dynasty improved daily life in China.The Han excelled in warfare. Their military methods and new weapons helped them expand their dynasty. At its height, the Han dynasty reached west into Central Asia, east to present-day Korea, and south to present-day Vietnam.
The Han dynasty had a large and well-organized army. All men from about the ages of twenty-five to sixty had to serve two years in the army. Historians estimate that Han armies had 130,000 to 300,000 men.
Another favorite weapon of the Han was the crossbow. A crossbow is made of two pieces of wood in the shape of a cross. A string is attached to each end of the horizontal piece of wood. When that string is pulled back and released, an arrow is shot from the crossbow.
The Han invented the kite and used it in clever ways for military purposes. According to one legend, a Han general once used a kite to measure the width of a heavily guarded wall. Kites were used to send messages from one part of an army to another. They were also used to frighten the enemy.Kites with bamboo pipes were flown over enemy camps at night. Enemy soldiers would hear a ghostly noise coming from the darkness above them.It sounded like “ fu, fu” (“beware, beware”). The alarmed soldiers often ran away.